Notre Dame Eagle Scout gets Project of the Year Award


John Kenny will receive the Glenn and Melinda Adams Eagle Project of the Year Award, which honors one Eagle project a year in the metro Detroit area that stands above the rest as being outstanding.

Kenny also the 16th from Notre Dame to be named Eagle Scout in recent years..

Notre Dame junior John Kenny is the 16th from Notre Dame to receive Eagle Scout honor in recent years. 

Notre Dame junior John Kenny, who in 2017 was named an Eagle Scout, will be receiving the Glenn and Melinda Adams Eagle Project of the Year Award. This award honors one project a year that stands above the rest as being outstanding. According to Jay Bottorff, who is the chair for the Eagle Scouts of Metro Detroit (ESMD) local chapter of the National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) and chair for Great Lakes Service Council, Boy Scouts of America, Kenny's project stood out among the rest of the projects this year.

"We believe John Kenny's dedication to the program, his faith and his troop was illustrated as the best in the 2017 year," Bottorff said. "This year we had 354 Eagle Scouts in the 2017 class."

For his project of the year honor, Kenny has been asked to be a guest speaker highlighting his achievement in front of nearly 500 guests including his fellow Eagle Scouts on February 28, 2018, at the Suburban Showplace Collection in Novi, MI. He also will be receiving a special pin to be worn on his uniform and a certificate highlighting his achievement. 

Kenny earned the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest award given by the Boy Scouts of America, in August of last year. According to BSA, only about 4 percent of the nearly three million scouts nationwide earn Eagle Scout status.

Kenny joined fellow juniors Austin Greif and Kevin Cragg, current NDP senior Logan Hand and alums William Ballew, Anthony VanDieren, Logan Verheyen, Brennan Eagle, Tyler Obear, Ryan Flaherty, Ryan Dau, Erik Egner, Connor Verheyen, Jack Stouffer, Joe Lombardo and Peter Dondanville in achieving Eagle Scout status in recent years.

A scout for many years, Kenny's Eagle project was to design and construct a "Marian engraved brick pathway and prayer garden," which was installed on the grounds of the St. Irenaeus parish in Rochester Hills.

"Since my baptism, I have grown into an active member of my church and parish," said Kenny, who's also a member of Notre Dame Prep's Model United Nations and SADD clubs as well as the National Honor Society. "Serving as an altar server for seven years, participating in the youth group, and being involved with charity functions has enriched my life in innumerable ways, so I've have always wanted to give back to a church that has given me so much."

Kenny's Eagle project was to design and construct a Marian engraved brick pathway and prayer garden, which was installed on the campus of the St. Irenaeus parish in Rochester Hills.

Kenny said that a number of years ago, St. Irenaeus was blessed with a donation of a beautiful Mary statue, which was placed in front of the rectory. He noticed that few people actually went over to admire or pray in front of it. 

"An idea struck me then to make a gathering area in front of the statue," Kenny recalled. "I wanted to make an area where families could gather and pray."

Kenny then worked with the parish's financial department to better define the project and its cost, after which he set up a commemorative brick program to not only pay for the materials, but provide the actual bricks needed for the gathering-area patio.

"Through the incredible generosity of the parishioners at St. Irenaeus, I raised over $17,500 in only a month," Kenny said. "To achieve this, I sold 234 engraved bricks priced at $50 each and six engraved benches priced at $500."

Then, with the assistance of volunteer he]p from his troop and family, Kenny dug out the area in front of the Mary statue and made sure the ground was level using landscaping procedures had researched. 

"After ensuring that each individual brick was accounted for, we placed the bricks in the ground," he said. "Once the bricks were in place, we planted a beautiful garden around the Mary statue and put down mulch. Due to the overwhelming generosity of the parish during fundraising, I also was able to purchase upgraded engraved benches and place them on the pathway. With even more of the funds left over, St. Irenaeus purchased a new industrial stove, and it provided funding for a number of scouts who could not afford to attend a summer camp."

"I spent a total of 151.7 hours working on this project and I could not have done it without the help of my church and family," he said.

Kenny is proud of the work it took to achieve Eagle Scout status, but he's also proud of the work he's accomplished thus far at Notre Dame. 

"I will not lie, the classes at Notre Dame are tough," he said. "But I have learned how to handle them with the help of some fantastic teachers and friends. At NDP, I have accomplished things I never would have guessed I would be capable of accomplishing. I believe I will feel totally ready for any hurdles college may place in front of me. When I graduate in 2019, I definitely will miss Notre Dame. But as A.A. Milne said: 'How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.'"

Comments or questions?

Follow Notre Dame on Twitter at @NDPMA.

About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. The school's upper division enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower divisions enroll students in jr. kindergarten through grade eight. All three divisions are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school's home page at